Birdspotting in Singapore and around the world

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Birdspotting in Singapore and around the world

Ago 14, 2018, 7:22 am

So I don’t have the greenest of thumbs and in Singapore we don’t get the largest of gardens but I started the Butterfly thread in this group and I thought I’d complement it with a Bird thread. My mum started me bird watching when we lived next to a river in Africa so - though I wouldn’t qualify as a twitcher - I’ve kept up my interest in birds over another four continents. However we’ve lived in cities so spotting birds other than London sparrows and pigeons (yes, even here) is quite exciting.

I know I’ve said Singapore but please feel free to add any exciting birds you spot.

Editado: Ago 14, 2018, 10:51 am

What prompted this thread was as I turned into our road a small bird that I’ve never noticed before with black and white wings and a yellowish head flitted past me and landed in a bush. I think, from my hasty Google search, that it is a Common Iora probably a female.

Ago 16, 2018, 1:27 am


Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 11:05 pm

crimson sunbird

(copied from my December post on my thread) ... I leave you with a picture of a crimson sunbird, which briefly regaled me with song but sadly flew off when someone else came into the room as I excitedly tried to show them the sunbird. We get heaps of olive backed sunbirds which like living close to people. We had one pair nesting below my hanging baskets outside the sitting room window once, and some that nested in our balcony, so we tiptoed around for a couple of weeks until the babies had safely flown the nest. But this is the first time I've seen the crimson sunbird; I hope he comes back often.

And while we were finishing our Christmas lunch, a baby monitor lizard walked along our border wall. (Although let's hope bird and lizard don't meet.)

Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 11:04 pm

olive backed sunbird
(common in our garden. Often visits at breakfast time.)

ETA: olive backed (or yellow bellied) sunbird, Mr. & Mrs. The male is, of course, the more showy one.

Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 12:19 am

This little guy (a bit bigger than a finch or sparrow) seems to have moved into my garden. It looks vaguely familiar, but I don't remember looking it up before. It's an oriental white eye, originally native to Singapore but I read that the wild population died out, so it's been reintroduced and now counts as an introduced species.

Jan 29, 2019, 7:52 am

Just dropping in to thank you for posting the pictures. How lovely!

Jan 29, 2019, 11:07 pm

>7 2wonderY: You're welcome. I'm hoping that other people will add their birds, too, much as they have been doing on the Butterfly thread.

Although I hasten to add that the photos are not mine. I only have a camera phone and by the time I could get that lined up, even assuming the bird would stay still for me to go and get my phone, the bird would be lost against the background.

Editado: Fev 25, 2019, 11:22 pm

More common birds in my garden are:

zebra doves

spotted dove

javan mynah


Asian glossy starling and juvenile

Fev 25, 2019, 11:29 pm

A while ago, a friend sent me this photo which claimed to be an Abyssinian roller, one of the most beautiful birds in the world. 'Hah!' I said, having grown up in West Africa and actually seen rollers spinning along the axis of their flight as they caught insects above the river 'That is a common pigeon, photoshopped to add colour' and I sent her an image of an actual roller.

Turns out, the joke's on me. This is an actual bird, a pink necked green pigeon, which lives in Singapore and visits my garden.

Fev 25, 2019, 11:52 pm

>9 humouress:, >10 humouress: - you have some beautiful birds there! Thanks for sharing!

Fev 26, 2019, 1:29 am

You're welcome. I'm hoping other people around the world will add their birds, too.

Fev 27, 2019, 12:05 am

>12 humouress: you should check out the group Birds, Birding, and Books as well. Not too many pictures, though.

Fev 27, 2019, 2:21 am

>13 NorthernStar: Ooh, thanks. I checked it out.

Mar 19, 2019, 4:57 am

Saw a kingfisher; will post the picture I actually took

Editado: Abr 6, 2019, 2:09 am

I saw this little guy hopping around my balcony just now, looking for nesting material. I think it was a rufous-tailed tailor bird (or otherwise might be a common tailor bird); anyway, I've grabbed a photo of a rufous-tailed because that's what came up first when I googled and the bird didn't oblige by hanging around to be identified.

I've never seen one before; in fact, at first I thought it was a scrawny sparrow until I noticed it's beak.

Editado: Mar 20, 2021, 10:26 am

Not a bird, but a lizard in the park across from the Istana.

It seems to be a changeable lizard (calotes versicolor).

From 'It is native to continental Asia up to the northern Peninsular Malaysia. In Singapore, it has displaced the Green crested lizard (Bronchodela cristatella) a native lizard ...'

Abr 28, 2019, 5:27 pm

>17 humouress: Handsome fellow! And obviously, he knows it.

Abr 29, 2019, 1:07 am

>18 2wonderY: :0)

Once again, not my photo. We were driving past the park and he scuttled along the grass and up a tree (but on the other side from us). He was rather hard to miss.

Editado: Abr 29, 2019, 1:16 am

I think I saw one of these guys the other day. I was driving, he was flying and all I saw was a vivid flash of turquoise and reddish brown with a sliver of white.

This (if it was he) is a white-throated kingfisher. I wish I'd been able to see it properly.

ETA: I typed 'he' assuming a brightly coloured bird would be male but apparently it could equally well have been female (for all I saw of it). Females are similarly coloured but are paler on the belly.

Editado: Jun 9, 2019, 4:50 am

I was sitting at my computer and must have been staring at the jungle when I noticed a three birds flying one behind another. I wondered idly what they were when they turned and I saw three flashes of turquoise that could only be kingfishers. Although I've only seen them solitary, or once as a pair, before.

I dashed off to get my phone to try and get a picture but when I returned they had disappeared. I'm hoping they're just roosting in some branches and will make a reappearance soon.

Maybe I should just go an sit under the eaves of the jungle and birdwatch sometime; but the corollary to birds is snakes, so ...

Editado: Mar 20, 2021, 10:24 am

I’ve had a couple of really interesting sights while driving this week - so I wasn’t able to take photos (although ironically, for once, my phone was within reach). A few days ago a very large bird landed on a lamppost as I was driving down a dual carriageway.

I suspect this guy, the Oriental Pied hornbill.

Editado: Dez 5, 2019, 5:04 am

And just now as I was on the expressway heading for a school pickup, a flock of parrots flew just above my car in the same direction that I was driving and so I got a god view of them - finally. I discovered there are actually parrots in Singapore only a couple of years ago but I’ve never been able to get a good look at them.

I’m guessing that they were the native long tailed parakeets although I read that they are being displaced by introduced species.

It amazes me to see the diversity of wildlife in this highly urbanised city-state. For the first ten years I lived here, I thought it was limited to geckos, Javan mynahs and the ubiquitous London pigeon.

Editado: Out 11, 2020, 1:39 pm

So I hadn't even realised that there are woodpeckers in Singapore although there are apparently at least five species. I caught sight of this lady in our garden and then she flew to our neighbour's papaya tree. Research tells me this is a female common flameback or golden backed three toed woodpecker. She's a beautiful dark gold on the back. Males are similar but have a red cap and a small red patch on their backs.

And, for once, the photo is mine (or rather, my son's).

This is one from the Singapore Birds Project, showing both male and female and giving a better view of their colours. Apparently they're usually found in pairs but we just saw the one - my younger son was in the room and the photo is his.

ETA: the photo above is his. The photos below are from the project, which I grabbed from the web.

Out 11, 2020, 11:01 am

>24 humouress: Wow! Nice shots!

Out 11, 2020, 11:04 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

Editado: Jan 23, 2021, 1:45 pm

I had just dropped my younger son off at football and was driving off when I saw a bird of prey stoop straight down into trees but I think it missed because it circled a bit after that. It had a white head and neck and red-brown wings, body and tail. I'm fairly sure it was this:

which is a Brahminy kite also known as a red-backed sea eagle or a garuda.

Editado: Fev 16, 2021, 12:19 am

I caught sight of another bird of prey as I was driving a couple of weeks ago but I couldn't focus on it. It had different colouration from the garuda. I'm quite excited about birds of prey because I've always lived in the suburbs (in London) and Singapore is a small city-state so it's quite unusual to see large birds.

Speaking of seeing birds while driving, there were some egrets near the kids' school over the past couple of weeks and one decided to fly across my bonnet so I had to brake to avoid hitting it. I suspect the little egret - but it was rather hard to spot defining characteristics under the circumstances ;0)

But I wanted to post this bird:

The black-naped oriole, which is found throughout Asia.

Again, not my photo because it flew past my window but, for once, it was close enough to identify. I've been seeing these yellow birds flying in different parts of Singapore for a long time, but this was the first time I caught a glimpse of one close enough to see its markings. For the longest time, I thought they were weaver birds because they're the same colour as weaver birds I used to see in Africa.

Editado: Mar 19, 2021, 5:57 am

Ooh, I'm so thrilled; a parrot just flew past my window! I didn't even realise that there were parrots in Singapore until recently and then I only spotted the occasional flock in the distance. But just now, one flew past the balcony and tilted so I got a good view of its upper body, wings and tail which were green with a more yellowy-green in the centre.

ETA: However, there seem to be several candidates for which bird it could be. One is the rose-ringed parakeet which is native to India but feral populations (from escaped pet) exist around the world even in northern Europe in countries such as Germany.

Another possibility is the long-tailed parakeet, which is local, but seems to have a lot more colours than I spotted.

Mar 20, 2021, 5:31 am

While I was looking for a picture of the parrot/ parakeet, I came across this:

which is a cinnamon-headed green pigeon. I keep seeing birds with a reddish-brown body and brownish gray tail and wings flying in the jungle behind the houses across from us and sometimes landing on their hooves and aerials. They're too far away for me to see more than that so it's all guesswork. However, the cinnamon-headed green pigeon holds 'near threatened' status due to habitat loss, so I could be wrong.

(Again, not my picture.)

Mar 27, 2021, 7:44 am

>29 humouress: The rose-ringed parakeet is fairly common in some cities over here. I have seen them in The Hague and Schiedam. They fly around in groups just before sundown.

Editado: Mar 27, 2021, 8:52 am

>31 FAMeulstee: And here I thought parrots/ parakeets were tropical birds.

I've seen flocks (of green parakeet-shaped birds) flying in the distance at around sundown where my kids play football, which is close to the central catchment area - the centre of Singapore which is kept as secondary jungle to attract rain for the reservoirs.

Mar 27, 2021, 3:12 pm

>32 humouress: Yes they are tropical birds in origin. The population started with escaped birds, now they seem to do well in urban areas all over the world.

Jan 13, 2022, 9:30 am

The other day I went for my first walk of the new year *pauses for wild applause* and was observing the swifts flitting about as Jasper and I walked along the canal. I also saw a bird of similar size but with kingfisher colours, although it was obviously not a kingfisher. I think it was a bee-eater; apparently Singapore has two - the blue tailed bee eater and the blue throated bee-eater. I'd say, of the two, it's more likely to have been a blue tailed bee-eater.

     blue throated bee eater;                 blue tailed bee eater

Jan 13, 2022, 9:38 am


Jan 13, 2022, 10:00 am

>35 2wonderY: Well, I can't really take credit ;0) And the photos aren't even mine.

Editado: Jan 14, 2022, 7:34 pm

I've got a pair of crimson sunbirds in my study right now! The balcony doors are open and the male keeps flying in to investigate (I'm afraid he rather startled me the first time when I looked up to see something fluttering a couple of feet away). Well, actually, the female hasn't come in and just remained on the plants on the balcony.


(again, not my photos)

Fev 10, 12:43 am

(Huh; well I've just had to 'join to post' after all this time. No matter, not an issue.)

More on sunbirds; this time I have an olive-backed sunbird nest right outside my study:

This time, it is my photo. The doors on the right are my bookshelves and the photo is through one of the balcony doors. My son and I were away on holiday for about a month but the balcony doors were opened and shut every day, to let fresh air in, but sunbirds like to build close to humans. They were fluttering around when I came back (so I was wary about using the study too much in case I upset them) and I was disappointed when they seemed to have disappeared a week or two ago. But when I researched it last night I discovered that after a mating pair builds a nest they do leave it for a week or so before returning to lay eggs. This morning I noticed a sunbird busy about the nest (I tried not to be too obvious about looking) so fingers crossed, they return.

Fev 11, 12:35 am

Jun 15, 10:01 am

Today I went for a longer walk than usual. I like going along the canal because there's more wildlife there and I continued on to the reservoir though it was getting hot (it's been hotter than usual, I feel, the past few weeks). Walking back along the reservoir, I noticed a water tractor which was clearing weeds from the bottom and a heron or crane sitting in the basket getting a free ride.

So the tractor would dig up weeds from the bottom of the reservoir and take it back to a floating pallet to dump. The bird would sit on the basket and then hop in to look for breakfast once the weeds came above the surface, ride back to the 'island' and hop off when the tractor dumped the weeds. Then, when it went back out, the bird would fly back to its post on the basket, for its next course.

Jun 15, 10:02 am

This looks like a grey heron.

Photo from National Parks Singapore

Photo from Singapore Birds Project

Editado: Ago 4, 5:09 pm

As I was driving yesterday, I spotted two toucans sitting on a lamppost over the road. Unfortunately I couldn't take a photo but I'll borrow one from the 'net.

ETA: Hmm; although wild toucans were last spotted in Singapore in 2009, they are native to South America. Oriental pied hornbills, however, are native to Singapore. They became locally extinct about 50 years ago but have been making a comeback, helped by nesting boxes. So I probably spotted hornbills.

Photo of hornbill from NParks

Photo of hornbills from eBird

Editado: Nov 21, 3:26 am

Just came back from a walk with Jasper and wanted to make a note of a couple of birds I saw. One was a pygmy Sunda woodpecker

and the other was a kingfisher with a lot of blue and orange, so either a common

or a stork-billed


Probably the former, but it was sitting up in a tree on the other side of the canal, laughing at me, so I couldn’t get closer to be more definite.

Ooh - and a white-breasted waterhen; but they're always around since they like to hide in the undergrowth near the canal.

photos are not mine

Nov 21, 11:58 am

Fun birds!

Nov 21, 12:56 pm

>43 humouress: Wow! Love the kingfishers!

Nov 21, 2:16 pm

>44 MrsLee: Aren't they?

>45 perennialreader: Kingfishers are always pretty spectacular.

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